Twin Peaks 1×07: Realization Time

[Review by Jay Yencich]

[Writer: Harley Peyton | Director: Caleb Deschanel | Aired: 05/17/1990]

Somewhere in the ill-defined research for the previous review, I came across an interview with Harley Peyton that attempted to describe how he came to be involved in Twin Peaks. The story goes that Peyton met Mark Frost in the industry, through fantasy baseball, and one day Frost called him up with an invitation to a screening of the pilot. “Northwest Passage” [1×01] being then a game-changer for television, Peyton was sufficiently blown away and afterwards approached Frost, gushing and offering his services. As he tells it, it was more a wild west, impromptu setting back then and writing wasn’t done by committee so much as a bunch of hired guns coming in to fire off a script here and there. And so, a few months later, he’s tabbed to write “Rest in Pain” [1×04] and as Frost reviews the script in the small hours of the morning, he calls Peyton up and asks for another on the double.

I mention this because it’s one of the few outlets I have to make sense of the episode. “Realization Time” has an array of features that turn it into an ars poetica for the review process. The Internet has managed to cultivate an industry around slash-and-burn and earth-salting reviews concerning materials that are logically flawed. Scroll through the results of any media search and you’ll eventually find someone willing to be apoplectic on camera for attention and/or coin. This episode indeed resembles a rush job where the left hand didn’t know what the right was doing.

One could easily smash their way through a summary, focusing only on the bad parts because there aren’t too many stunners otherwise. Lay waste, ascend to your pedestal of unimpeachably objective analysis, crack open the gin and cigars and wait the lavishing of attention and treasure baths. But the thing is, inconsistencies aside, “Realization Time” isn’t objectively bad television. It fails to adhere to logic in spots, but it doesn’t drag anywhere and has a few moments of near brilliance. Furthermore, the missteps it makes aren’t exactly consequential. They can provide a somewhat strained reasoning for getting from point A to point B, but the characters aren’t developed incorrectly, or at least no one who matters is.

As I’m willing to admit the shortcomings, I’ll launch in with the worst of it. For my two bits, the most poorly-executed scenes are those of Audrey at Horne’s. Despite verifiable concerns about dear Audrey lacking the requisite discretion and delicacy to handle duties including the perfume counter, we find her flippantly discussing the wares with a generic frumpy woman who sounds exactly like what you’d desire from that casting call. In lieu of getting a case of the vapors and passing out at such a besmirchment of her personal honor (only to be roused later with smelling salts), the woman departs with a stinging “I don’t appreciate your attitude.” Someone is going to get a stern talking-to from management later. Oh wait, management is daddy.

Meanwhile, suited man-child Emory stops by to talk to Jenny about a meeting in five minutes. But under the pretenses of “us[ing] the little girl’s room,” Audrey sneaks into Emory’s office. Momentarily, she is thwarted by an extra working inventory until Audrey lures him out with a “you know, there’s a real bad accident outside, it sounded like a bus or something.” Like any red-blooded American male, he immediately departs, curious. Never mind the fact the he was so involved in his duties he didn’t even notice Audrey approach.

Audrey immediately pilfers and lights up a smoke. Meanwhile, Emory, not even being in his office despite saying he would meet Jenny there, approaches, and Audrey sneaks into a nearby closet. She does not pinch off the cherry or attempt to stub the cigarette only to fumble about for ashes, she just hangs out in there, smoking, fumes wafting out through the slits, listening disinterested. Emory offers Jenny a glass unicorn. “Purity” he says, a “reward for a job well-done,” he says, not specifying the nature of the work at “the club,” as he calls it. Jenny’s acting isn’t terrible, but her lines are generic as it gets, dumb teenager talk of “that sounds cool, as long as they have money,” at which point Emory rewards her with a business card containing Blackie’s number and the offer to help her pick out something from eveningwear. Because no one’s going to notice one of the store managers going through lingerie with an employee and then putting it on his card, right?

Audrey goes through Emory’s notebook, finds Ronette’s name (we never see a “Laura”), and then snags the unicorn conveniently left behind. A transition scene later, Audrey follows up with Jenny. Jenny’s smart enough to put on a superficial suspicion, but the unicorn is enough to sway her and thus give Audrey the phone number for the club, which she quickly dials using the store phone. Bye Jenny. We’ll never see you again.

Among the other questions I have: Who was at the perfume counter if Audrey left and Jenny did the same moments later? Did they install the “Invitation to Love” cutout of Emerald behind the register to cover? Does anyone suspect that Audrey Horne and Benjamin Horne is not some coincidence of surnaming? Doesn’t anyone realize who she is? She’s Audrey Horne and she gets what she wants!

As I said earlier, it’s not unpleasant viewing, but Audrey’s sequence mid-episode is probably the sloppiest in writing and realization. Events are sped up with a goal in mind, not considering the ramifications of how we reach that milestone. But if I’m similarly agonizing over little details, then the rest of the episode provides more tinder for the fires of ire.

We have two consecutive days in series chronology opening with a shot of the moon, except what was full and red last night is halved and pale now. Coop’s offer to talk, eat fries, and drink malts all night with Audrey ignores how bedraggled and sleep-deprived he was previously (and of her secrets or any fallout from their late night tête-à-tête, nary a word). Bobby appears to be legitimately surprised that Shelly thought to shoot Leo despite pressing the gun into her hands twenty-four hours prior. Firebug and potential smoker Hank has to pocket a lighter in the diner so everyone knows what’s going on, though it’s Leo who plays arsonist next episode. Ben, in his sole appearance, acts mad at Jerry for telling the Icelanders they could go to One-Eyed Jack’s, despite being the one who suggested it as a deal-closer yesterday. Additionally, Ben is advised not to call the Packard homestead, except there are multiple accomplices he has to chat with there. And then there’s Bobby, observing Donna and James from some distance, triangulating their position god knows how, who doesn’t seem to register that there’s someone who looks exactly like his dead girlfriend standing next to them (on whose behalf he’s acting out a plan of vengeance), and instead scampers away to his car and arrives at Jacoby’s office almost at the same time as Donna and James, but from the other direction and having departed after they were more or less out of sight. Welp.

The enterprise of criticism is not without its regular pains. Television and movies aside, I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve memorized or set scrutiny to some passage of literature or song only to find it inadequate to whatever emotions it had originally instilled in me. I like it no less, but suddenly attempting to defend or, heaven forefend, champion it, makes me feel dumb. Sometime later, I get over the cognitive dissonance, exercise “negative capability” or whatever you’d care to call it, and realize that it’s fundamentally silly to claim “I can’t publicly like this material unless I can convince others that its flaws are irrelevant and dismiss naysayers as ignorant haters.”

“Realization Time” isn’t a perfect script. It lacks a lot of bombastic humor courtesy of Major Briggs and Albert Rosenfield and its compensation elsewhere, via Cooper usually, is quiet. It’s still all right, as TV is concerned. Certainly not boring. For all the quibbles I have with how conveniently Audrey’s plan comes together, the series needed to get her across the border and there are even more broken-down jalopies they could have conceivably had her ride to victory in. It’s all in character anyway, so who cares if it doesn’t make a lick of sense?

I figure I’ll go through this one somewhat chronological unless I have reason to diverge. The follow-through and repercussions of Audrey’s climbing into Coop’s bed are a source of minor disappointment (in that there aren’t any consequences), but cheers to the writers for immediately picking up there and not leaving the poor girl hanging. The trajectory of their conversation, with watchwords of “oath” and “duty,” crosses into anticipated territory, but the emotion imparted on the situation, and concessions via Cooper, surely make it worthwhile. Obvious highlight: Cooper’s attitudes towards secrets, which I believe only he could convince us of. The veracity of his remarks are debatable, but he’s usually forthcoming if the right questions are asked.

Morning brings us to the police station where we finally get named credits. Continuity continues as Lucy appears more formally dressed and conducted than she was yesterday, while Andy remains bewildered. Bonus points scored for Lucy claiming it’s a busy period at the switchboard and then pouncing as soon as the phone rings. Andy’s eyes-wide send-off is nice too.

Cooper makes an entrance with his whistle, no ill effects from the overnight, and the boys get down to business in the conference room. Doc’s role in this ep appears to be “encyclopedia reader,” and through him we get the audience up to speed on mynah birds. Forensics manages a quick turnaround on the cabin’s treasure trove, but then with only one photo developed, perhaps it can be excused. I have a tougher time with Cooper immediately accepting jurisdiction issues as being neatly solved by the Bookhouse Boys, but it’s one of those “when in Rome…” behaviors of his, perhaps it’s not too alarming.

What is at least a little unsettling for the viewer is Leo’s scope-eyed view of Big Bad Bobcat entering the lion’s den. Note the parallels between this and the closing scenes, both featuring Bobby, observed first by Leo and then an unknown assailant. There are few surprises here, so among the better gestures: Leo finally learning to be discrete and camping out in the kind of truck your bachelor uncle used to own (while listening to the police scanner to see if Shelley’s reported anything), Bobby grasping at Shelley’s hair as she walks away. Among the more questionable moves, inviting the braggadocio boyfriend over when Shelley herself admits that Leo is probably stalking her outside. Still, probably more good than bad. The added touch of having Bobby equate an actual threat (Leo) with a non-threat (James) is also telling, in that it demonstrates how much this is about his personal honor and, secretly, control.

It’s been an mish-mash of positives and negatives thus far, but I think the best of the episode is in the scene at the Palmer residence with Donna, James, and Maddy listening to the tapes. I’ve talked up the voyeurism of the show in the past, but these moments are more akin to eavesdropping, as we hear the click and stop of the tapes in the midst of a slow pan over to the central characters. Our overhearing of the recorder, sans context, mimics what Laura’s inner circle is experiencing through their playback of her audio diary.

The mood is sombre, but not restrained. More introspective, as the initial emotion of the death has burned out and those carrying on are now trying to match what they are learning to what they knew. The listening is uncomfortable and James, who has been pacing, hits the stop button right as Laura is trying to rationalize how and why she seduces the men she encounters. Right as his pristine image of her risks being tarnished with the truth, he shuts it off.

These are easy victories for the script and direction, their execution getting us in the right frame of mind for the scene. Among the rewatch pleasures, there’s James’ continued refusal to commit to there being a suspect, just as he did at the Double-R. For him to accuse anyone with so little evidence would make him less real to us, or more teenaged and foolish. Additionally, I feel like many television series might play the heavy hand, and pan up to a concerned Maddy, who looks up as “a call from Laura” is floated as a possible diversion. Instead, the framing returns to that wide-angle shot, with everyone intent on the tape deck again. It has a way of unifying them in goal and mind, but also diminishing them, having their schemes appear small in the eye of the world.

I don’t fancy adding anything more to the department store sequence, so we’ll move on to the diner. It’s well-understood that Shelley is busy here and has a very limited interest in the conversation with Hank, which justifies how casual she is about the possible reveal of Ed as Norma’s man-on-the-side. Norma gets no speaking lines, so I’ll take notice of the fact that Hank usually frames his anecdotes (“When you’re in prison, you remember faces from home. They all seem like friends somehow, even the ones you barely knew.”) are designed to get into the good graces of whomever is listening and drop their guard. Likewise, he continues to claim his debt is paid, while he has some dues himself still to collect on.

Truman’s visit to check-in on Hank isn’t to my taste. I think that to set up Hank in opposition to the sheriff gives us a means of understanding him, even better that he was formerly one of the best of the Bookhouse Boys, a symbolic Lucifer thing going on (I’ll note here that Good Hank has his bright white t-shirt on and Bad Hank frequently sports a black leather jacket). Yet, the effect is general and lacks a certain specificity. Is Hank roughly the same age as Truman? Did Truman go to school with that crowd? Who was the mentor and who the disciple? Did Hank’s legal issues inform Truman’s career trajectory in any way? These are a number of more personal outlets a writer could have used to help establish Truman’s place in the town, which is ever defined by his job title.

Where the Double-R scene squanders an opportunity on a broader, world-building level, the retrospective analysis of Nadine on the couch is fraught with issues of setting up the finale’s rather surreal suicide attempt. I’ve outlined my case for Nadine having more psychological and emotional complexity than she’s thought of having, given the polar extremes in her packaging. Nevertheless, we should ask ourselves if there is enough to adequately justify a device as potentially devastating as a suicide, with only eight episodes on the record?

Mind you, there’s a great deal of material that affirms and develops our earlier impressions. Of all the character responses generated by Invitation to Love, I particularly appreciate Nadine’s rooting for Chet, another unassuming brown mouse, to stand up for himself and take on Montana. I like the delay of her noticing Ed and the happy-sad declaration of bonbons. The speculations into the turns their life would take, Nadine’s peculiar way of trapping herself in emotional ruts, Ed’s confident and protective reassurances, playing off his recent assertions that she’s not well and that he needs to stick by her… The tallying shows a lot of pluses and very little that could be condemned as a minus.

What then troubles me is that, as is too often the case, we have too little grounding in where Nadine is coming from. We understand her specific feelings of inferiority towards Norma, but there’s no reason why, right now, there is such dire need for life changes via material possessions, a motorboat, a TV. They appear to own their house, they aren’t in any particular financial distress (she doesn’t work) and Nadine is scarcely concerned about Ed’s long working hours in a dirty job (unless it interferes with drape runners). Norma isn’t capable of providing anything Nadine can’t, so that track runs rather short. It can be said that this is a way of finally proving herself to Ed by what means she can, but again, their lifestyle doesn’t appear to be severely deficient in any one area, so the investment isn’t the same. Without it, the attempt to kill herself may be dismissed as further wackiness.

But she’s hardly alone in her deficiencies here, as Ed is also complicit in reading her emotions as her husband of twenty-odd years. The tenor of his response here and his means of managing it are true to his character and nearly perfect, yet they’re circumscribed within this time and space alone, household affairs. Should Ed have greater misgivings about leaving her all by her lonesome to go help with police business? Should he be more preoccupied throughout instead of dashing into the surprise some hours later, or has he ridden this storm out before and known well enough that it might pass? In isolation, it’s a fine scene. In context, it makes sense. As a piece of a narrative that’s building up to a big finish, it’s ineffective.

Though transitions haven’t been much trouble lately, it’s a little trying to go from that to Pete’s talking up his latest fish trophy to Truman, without commercial break. While it’s always nice to see Pete again, the levity is to distract us from additional seriousness by way of Josie getting grilled a bit by Truman. The good sheriff, fresh off his meeting with Hank, appears to be out to tie up loose ends.

There are two arguments I can potentially see regarding their meeting. One has difficulty tolerating the fact that Josie’s long, seemingly distraught “ohhhh”s belie her being at Timber Falls to collect the evidence, which Harry needed to verify any potential threat posed by Ben and Catherine’s scheming. Why else should she have the photos in her purse? Who else but Harry would she go to with these revelations?

A more generous reading of the scene would say that it’s not intended for her or him, but us; that it is there to reinforce how ignorant Harry might be of the goings-on. The photos then are incidental, a plausible rationale she came up with on the fly as her evasiveness bought time. Their intended purpose was one more bit of leverage for her, should Ben try to change the deal again, and in any case, safer to keep those with her than out where Catherine might find them. I’m not wild about the scene, but I find the latter argument more compelling.

A commercial break gives Truman a grace period to get back to the Great Northern, where Cooper emerges looking like a mid-century movie star and, whether or not it’s Ed’s first rodeo, it looks like that’s where he’s headed. Here, I feel as if the narrative starts to shifts in momentum as we move from multiple discrete storylines to, predominantly, the two intertwining ones of stakeouts at One-Eyed Jack’s and Easter Park, with a short detour taking us to the Packard residence. These are a heavier hitters for the plot and not quite so rich on framing (one scene excluded) or body language, but have enough in both to make them compelling.

There’s certainly nothing to dislike in the initial discussion of gambling between, Ed, Coop, and Truman. It’s solid. The follow-up to Truman’s meeting with Josie, mixed feelings. If I’m indicting Ed for going undercover with a clear conscience, I can’t easily find fault with Harry then for talking to Cooper about Josie’s problems, even if it strikes me as too familiar. I’m grateful, even, that the Ben/Catherine ship is public knowledge. Cooper’s attempted questioning of Harry is too easily resolved, but then I suspect that Cooper is seeding doubts so that they can investigate later without Harry being caught by surprise. The rationale of “I love her and she’s in trouble,” is probably all we need from Harry too.

Juxtaposed with Harry’s vouching for Josie trustworthiness, we have Catherine getting to learn via insurance agent Walter Neff that Ben/Josie have secretly made out a life insurance policy in her name, with the widow Packard as the beneficiary. Neff, like Jenny preceding him, is a one-off, a throwaway character, which I often forget. With Catherine’s phrasing of “are you an ambitious man?”, pointedly, one thinks she might have use for the otherwise unassuming fellow. It’s a false positive, as talk of ambitious men ought to be directing us to Ben Horne, who seemingly is without qualms about two-timing someone he’s been two-timing with. “Ts left to be crossed” is probably her way of visually signaling for the graves yet to be dug and the markers to place above them.

The award for “most strangely affecting scene,” as one might have surmised from the teaser image, goes to the assassination of Waldo. I’m not the type to get all dewy-eyed over any instance of violence against animals, despite being a pet owner my whole life and experiencing the common “oh God, WHY?” reaction to recent ASPCA commercials. Plenty of animals have been used in film for purely manipulative ends, so it’s worth examining what makes this work.

First and foremost, it’s the child-like, innocent quality of Waldo’s voice as it comes off on tape. The high pitch, the questioning tone of “Laura?”, the screams of “Don’t go there!” and “Leo, no!” intermingled with honks and wolf whistles. It’s all very Twin Peaks in how it uses the cartoonish comedy of the sound effects in tandem with the discomfort that accompanies a child’s voice making all these pleas to deaf ears, helping to emphasize how young Laura was and how deep in it.

Secondly, it’s the subtext of what’s happening for Waldo. The encyclopedia entry from before established mimicry as something done out of a sense of play. What constitutes play in this sense? Well, roughhousing, with a bullwhip perhaps, commonly with a lot of screams that are only met with further catcalls. Waldo probably doesn’t have the faintest sense of what it all means, just the unwitting witness to all this, bird-brained as he is. But as a living document, one that could implicate others, he’s a liability and is subsequently killed. I didn’t like the placement of one of the earlier commercial breaks, but this was a good one, to leave the audience a little haunted.

Our arrival into the One-Eyed Jack’s has allure in how taken the boys are with the garish costumes and surroundings. I suppose it’s a given the Blackie would come calling almost immediately, so I’ll take the scene as it was intended. I struggle to come to terms with how quickly the conversation recovers after Ed’s flub about the gas station, but then, his riff off the misstep is played well enough and I don’t suppose that Blackie has any specific knowledge that would lead to her alarm, as men are likely to drop in with cover stories Cooper’s diversion of “I’m the cop” is a winner, as is the pair of girls eyeing them as they descend into the gambling area.

A breather is needed for the stakeout to get established, and so we switch back to Maddy trying to sneak out, sans wig. The light design of having the otherwise-absent-from-this-episode Leland turning from a shadow on the couch to a half-lit face and then back to stoic staring, no emotion betrayed, is uneasy enough to stick with us for a while, and there’s that flicker in his eye that could be light catching off some tears. It’s a quick skip to the car pulling up with James waiting at the gazebo, and the ramping up of Laura’s musical theme. Naturally, this leads into another moment of James’ body language doing subtle work for the scene, as there’s that blink where he steels himself to see Laura’s doppelgänger, the two of them walking slowly and passing through various lights and umbras. Donna, meanwhile, is more overtly stunned and astonished by the attraction she detects from James toward Maddy. What’s interesting to me, reflecting on it now, is that we get all of these effects without the aid of one word of dialogue. It’s quite an achievement.

And then, some noise courtesy of the Norsemen. Not much going on here that I haven’t already puzzled over in my tromp through the flaws of the episode. Ben’s bored ice cream eating and feigned ignorance of the fact that they’re singing “99 Bottles” is a plus. Jerry raising the roof with a pinecone is a plus. We needed to see Ben on-screen at some point here and having it add to the insurance fraud bit helps cement that.

Audrey’s letter of introduction to Blackie, amidst her red curtains and fake candelabra, has its pleasures too. The “Hester Prynne” pseudonym is further fun with Audrey’s pert and self-assured behavior, as she’s all but begging someone to call her on her nonsense so that she can pull off her next act of escaping culpability. Likely, too, that she’s riding the high of getting away with duping the Horne’s employees earlier in the day. She plays wounded at first, but then the tongue trick of pretzeling the stem covers for the fake resume. One appreciates a girl with talents.

I’ll bypass Jacques’ introduction at the blackjack table in favor of moving on with the park narrative. I’m acquainted with the “that’s today’s newspaper in that shot!” maneuver and would complain, but then it heightens the notion that these are teenagers, imitating what they’ve seen in popular culture to fake out semi-wily prey in Doc Jacoby. Recognizing that it’s Sheryl Lee playing both parts, there’s not too much excitement to Maddy pretending to be Laura, at least not while we have Orphan Black to watch. Yet, how her facial tics play into it and the thrill you can see in her expression, there are hints that she might excited to pretend to be someone else. Her immediate drop of the vocal affectations and return to ordinary Maddy-ness is a good use of the script as well. She’s entranced, yet still made uncomfortable by it.

Bobby’s pursuit followed by the cocaine in the gas tank… eh… it’s a crime-thriller staple I guess. I really don’t know enough of how the tank operates relative to the engine in a motorcycle to say whether or not it makes Mythbusters sense. What I will point out is that Bobby, while being in debt to Leo, has used his easiest means of making up the capital to frame James and will get no other return on said investment, to be discarded into an evidence locker. Lovely. But then, at least we have the good taste to end not on that but the spying of the spy who spied on Bobby minutes earlier, accented by the breathing and those sinister squeals in the background. It’s a good spot to stop.

I ought to wind down as well with some semblance of an overview. You can feel the plot gearing up for the finale, but as a penultimate episode of a season, “Realization Time” is lacking. I’ll content myself with the series’ absurdity, but a number of sequences here seem implausible given what precedes and succeeds it in the continuity. For this reason, I’d also accuse it of being ineffective, as it intimates towards more than it is capable of realizing. My guess is that there was some communication between Frost and Peyton on the writing process, Peyton got an outline to work with, but hadn’t necessarily seen a script himself for the eps immediately surrounding and Frost had already drawn up his finale before “Realization Time” had been finished. Thus, detours and dead ends.

The pieces are all relevant, the machine is just a clunker relative to the season’s more engineered episodes. And if you can get past the bumps, squeaks, and occasional emitting of odd smells, the ride isn’t bad and no lasting harm is done. You might even reflect fondly on one eye-catcher or another, while lamenting that you got a little off-track and off-schedule and some chances may not present themselves in that way again.

 


[Log Lady]

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, there are those who open many eyes. Eyes are the mirror of the soul, someone has said. So we look closely at the eyes to see the nature of the soul. Sometimes when we see the eyes, those horrible times when we see the eyes, eyes that… that have no soul, then we know a darkness. Then we wonder: Where is beauty? There is none. The eyes are soulless.

The introduction loses a bit for not having a reason to bring on Old Crazy Eyes, Frank Silva, to give us some BOB action. If we’re talking eyes specifically, then the highlight is probably the instance of Leland on the couch, of his slow turn to the door and turn back with that stern expression and glitter on the edges of the eyes. Is there fury behind those eyes? Is it rather, blank? Difficult to tell, but I think that the combination of the introduction with this scene is meant to lead us into suspecting Leland.

If the discussion is then, about eye-opening beauty, then I find Maddy-as-Laura fascinating on a personal level. I can sympathize with James’ lot here, blinking and staring, as I’ve been in the position a few times of eyeing someone who looked like a past and lost love for the failure of the mind and heart to dissociate from the body and form. There’s that thrill of seeing the familiar face that’s difficult to overcome even when one knows objectively that the personal history you shared is here, absent. It’s a musing, philosophical take on a phenomenon that otherwise remains understated over the course of the series. We all know that it’s happening, but it’s not ever intellectualized or discussed, just something tacitly provided to the audience with the understanding that, perhaps they too, have chased that phantom.

Where I think that the preamble is at odds with the execution is that there is a lot of material for the episode is very much concerned with voyeurism and witnessing, whether it’s Waldo’s verbal account of what happened or Leo looking through the rifle’s sights or the assailant shakily peering in on the park scene and breathing like a total creep. Were the direction a little more attentive to these details (there are ways of making those eyes appear ambiguously souled) or the Log Lady’s remarks more concerned with how we see things than the eyes merely being the soul-windows, I think that the overall effect would be more complementary.

 


[Speculation]

  • Would we ever have learned why Cooper can’t deal with birds?
  • When Nadine is watching Invitation to Love, Montana gets shot, but when Jacoby is watching it later, Montana is fine and offering a drink to Jade in as threatening a manner as one can. We could speculate on the nature of reruns, but perhaps this is a sign that for all the threats looming in the finale, almost everyone’s going to survive.
  • Let’s note again that Maddy as Laura is to meet Jacoby at the famous intersection of Sparkwood & 21, which I previously speculated to be the White Lodge entrance.

 


[Errata]

  • For the record, the director of this episode is married to the actress who plays Eileen Heyward, who does not appear this time.
  • The show attempts to make much of the age differences of Cooper and Audrey, but for the record, Fenn and MacLachlan are only about six years apart.
  • All the various framed photographs surrounding Nadine as she watches the telly. Who are they? Hmm…
  • Separated at birth: Walter Neff and Andy Brennan?
  • Cooper introduces himself and Big Ed as “Barney” and “Fred” to Blackie, while a few years later he would go on to play the villain in the film adaptation of The Flintstones, which is a film I never thought I’d have reason to admit to having seen.
  • I missed it last round, so note that Montana is played by Mark Frost’s brother-in-law.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ My goodness, Cooper and his cloth handkerchief.
+ The music in this episode seems especially on point. I love how the foreboding aspects of Laura’s theme stop the same second that James stops the tape deck. I love that the jazzy, Audrey-like woodwind theme at the department store starts mixing into Laura’s theme once she convinces Jenny to surrender the phone number.
+ Kind of dig the double-take by Neff as he’s leaving, as a way of emphasizing his bewilderment at the situation.
+ Another plus to Ed doing the Bookhouse Boys gesture as he ducks out when Jacques takes his place at the table.

– I’m usually a great fan of the series’ sound design, but there’s this odd, harsh tone that accompanies the opening shot of the moon that seems more sinister than the material it’s leading into with Audrey and Cooper.
– A minus that didn’t quite make it to the laundry list of flaws: That the trio of James, Donna, and Maddy film the tricky tape, deliver it to Jacoby’s office, then return to the park to make the phone call only so that Donna and James can immediately return to Jacoby’s office. I suppose they needed to get the high sign that Jacoby bought it in the first place, but that’s a lot of backtracking that doesn’t quite add up.


Foreshadowing

* Lucy being semi-officially preggers, but still cagey about it with Andy, sort of opens the door for Dick Tremayne to enter later.
* James stops the tape this time, but will listen long enough for Laura to call him sweet, but dumb as the season concludes in “The Last Evening” [1×08]
* This is a bit of a stretch, given that Catherine only learns about the insurance policy late in the episode, but I look at Audrey’s nod to the Japanese businessman in the Great Northern hallways as a way of setting up Tojamura’s appearances in season two.
* Another stretch… I puzzled a bit about the role of the photo of the logging man that shatters when Waldo gets shot, because it seems like it should be something more than just a way of omitting the event of the shooting by only getting at the results. Now, I’m thinking that the fact that it shatters right around the man is a way of noting the shootings to follow in “The Last Evening” [1×08] of Renault and then Cooper.


[Score]

74/100

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2 thoughts on “Twin Peaks 1×07: Realization Time”

  1. [Note: guttersnipe posted this comment on May 30, 2015.]

    For what it’s worth, I’d juts like to say that though there’s little disagreement from me in terms of your points, I’d rate every episode so far just a little higher (well, “Cooper’s Dreams” is probably exactly right), to the extent that every episode this season would get an 80+. It’s still got atmos to burn and it’s rich, compelling, engrossing TV.

    I really like your comment on the Waldo recording; it’s as Twin Peaks as you could ask for in terms of making what’s ludicrous on paper work terrifically on screen, and the child’s voice with the wails of despair epitomises the light and dark fusion of the town and show.

    Another favourite moment of mine is the sudden POV cuts at the gazebo rendezvous. Mostly, Twin Peaks eschews handheld camerwork so when it suddenly inserts some, coupled with that abrasive scraping sound, the sense of danger suddenly goes through the roof.

    I have to agree with the disappointment of Coop and Audrey’s encounter: it’s a fantastic cliffhanger for the previous episode, yet the pick-up amounts to rather little. Speaking of cliffhangers, this episode’s ending really let the side down for the season. I have trouble believing for one second that Cooper or the police really believe James would be dealing. He is up to something, given the Jacoby ruse, but I don’t see them figuring this as anything other than a plant.

    Last time I forgot to mention a joke I read in my Iceland travel guide with regards to the visitors’ love of trees: “What do you do if you’re lost in an Icelandic forest? Stand up”.

    And finally, I have to admit that I had to put the disc in just to remind myself of who on earth Neff was.

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  2. [Note: Jay posted this comment on May 30, 2015.]

    Hooray! Always look forward to bouncing some of this commentary back and forth with you. Yeah, I think I can see arguments there for higher scores and as we’ve gone through it and I think I’m the type generally to err on the side of being too critical of something, while simultaneously trying to forgive it some of its shortcomings. If I’m consistently giving things lower scores and people can see the how and why of my reasoning coming off that way, that’s the ideal. I’d rather be a little bit too harsh and have people understand it than too generous and have people question why.

    For me, “Realization Time” has too much fraying at the edges of the plot and too many circumstances imparted with more meaning than is paid off, but I had to give it a higher score than “The One-Armed Man” because I just enjoy watching it more. If one of the premises behind watching Twin Peaks in the first place is that it’s foundational in our understanding of serialized television, I have to dock it where the continuity starts to fail it.

    As to the comments about the end of the episode… yeah… I think I may be giving “The Last Evening” a worse grade than I initially anticipated just because the whole James implication wouldn’t really hold water for anyone. The POV shot with the handheld is in this episode is also great, but I feel like the sonic bookending they put on it with the opening shot of the moon and the harsh tone is just forced in a way that doesn’t yield a major return for me.

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